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Sunrise at Mount Bromo

Java's Bromo volcano trip - Probably the earliest start on any All Points East tour but nobody's ever said it wasn't worth it!

We may well be faced with a few open jaws when our guide announces the meeting time for the sunrise at Mount Bromo trip but – we can certainly say we’ve never had any moans afterwards!

You may have got up pre-dawn for sunrise at Angkor Wat or Bagan or shivered on a mountain top near Yuanyang waiting for the light to appear over the World Heritage rice terraces, but this one does kick off a good couple of hours earlier.

So, we struggle out of bed in the middle of the night to pile into some ancient-looking jeeps outside our delightful lodgings at the Bromo Terrace Hotel and…off we go. During pre-Covid times, particularly during high season, the sunrise at Mount Bromo is a popular experience and much of the early start is to avoid congestion on the narrow winding road to the viewpoints – as well, not least – to be able to find convenient spots to park the jeeps without necessitating a lengthy pre-dawn walk.

Through the caldera by jeep
Through the caldera by jeep

It is of course pitch black, which fortuitously doesn’t spoil the surprise for later, as we drive through little Bromo village, across the interior of the caldera itself and up the steep climb on the far side to the summit. Another advantage of the early rise is that summit attained, we have plenty of time to avail ourselves of the numerous, conveniently-placed local tea shops for Java coffee, local tea and plenty of snacks while waiting for just the right moment to adjourn to the viewpoint.

Sunrise at Mount Bromo. Summit tea shops!
Summit tea shops!

Regardless of how many other visitors have made it up the mountain, our regular guide Ari has his own secret spot so not only are we invariably alone but the kindly cafe owners even let us take our cuppas with us!

And the sunrise at Mount Bromo - worth getting up for
And the sunrise at Mount Bromo – worth getting up for

At the summit of Mount Penanjakan, we’re probably around 2,500-2,600m – we go higher on other trips – but even close to the equator it can get rather nippy. (Thanks Greta for the loan of a beanie!). Nonetheless, this awe-inspiring view does…inspire…a distinct ‘top of the world’ feeling and, whatever the weather is doing, this vista of mountain tops and volcanoes as far as the eye can see pretty much guarantees dramatic skies at any time. (Worst case scenario – stuck in swirling mists – we’ll go back to the tea shop and try again in 20 minutes!)

Sea of fog over the caldera
Sea of fog over the caldera

Eyes and cameras sated, it’s time to head back down the ridge on the other side – into the caldera itself. More spectacular views before hitting the fine black ‘sea of sand’ of the crater where options include a hike, pony trekking or just sitting in another local tea shop soaking up the views.

Hike to a Hindu temple, located in the caldera itself
Hike to a Hindu temple, located in the caldera itself

We didn’t mention all this is before breakfast so; sun risen, hike over, local tea and coffee saturation point reached – it’s time to head back to Bromo terrace for a well-earned brunch.

The trip features on both our Java Overland and Indonesia Tour – Sumatra to Bali.